Krystal Giveaway Show keeps fans plugged in with social-media event

Krystal Giveaway Show keeps fans plugged in with social-media event

CHATTANOOGA Tenn. Krystal’s [3] first foray into live broadcasting may not have been in prime time, but the brand proved it was ready for the spotlight, officials said. —

The chain of 387 quick-service restaurants located mostly in the Southeast capped off last month’s “National Hamburger Month” promotion with a six-hour “Krystal Giveaway Show” May 27 that was streamed live over the Internet. —

During the show, which ran without a break from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. via the streaming-video site UStream.tv, Krystal gave away more than $1,500 in gift cards as people followed along in real time, answering trivia questions and leaving comments on Facebook and Twitter. —

A spokesman for Krystal said the show had more than 1,600 viewers and averaged about 62 visitors on air at any given time. The 300 Twitter tweets with a “#KrystalHD” tag and 500-plus posts to the brand’s Facebook profile reflected the show’s social-media buzz, and two local TV stations covered the broadcast. —

The show was the marquee event in Krystal’s month-long gift card giveaway, which also celebrated the debut of two Big Angus Burger flavors: Bar-B-Q Bacon Cheese and Chili Cheese. —

In all, producing the show was easier and cheaper than the Chattanooga-based chain had anticipated, said Brad Wahl, vice president of marketing. —

“This was really encouraging for us moving forward,” Wahl said. “It’s pretty easy to do, and we got good feedback about the quality of the video and sound.” —

Like many quick-service brands, Krystal has embraced social media as a way to increase its marketing reach. The brand writes a “Krystalist” blog and maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter. But Krystal also has benefited from the way its online activities have given fans a way to communicate with the brand, said Tiffany Rosenberger, manager of marketing innovation. —

“We created our own social-networking community,” Rosenberger said. “What we learned from it was our consumers didn’t need to talk to each other, they needed to talk to us. They would get on forums and reply to polls, and we got great top-line research. If a flavor was high on the online rankings and we put it out [in a product], it did well.” —

She added that she underestimated the enthusiasm of the broadcast participants and noted that there were some “die-hard” fans that stayed on for all six hours. —

Most aspects of the broadcast required little to no additional investment in time or money, Rosenberger and Wahl said. The show took place in a Krystal restaurant in Chattanooga, and only one information technology staffer had to leave headquarters to limit technical problems while filming and using UStream, which is free. The brand also sought to limit operations problems on the redemption side by giving away preloaded gift cards. —

“We were very specific in wanting to give away gift cards,” Rosenberger said. “There are fewer problems that way, because guests can get whatever they want, not what we want to push. There are fewer operations hiccups when you do that, and it’s more valuable to the customers, because they can try different things.” —

Both Krystal officials were enthusiastic about the potential for more live streaming video in the future. The chain plans to have a similar broadcast for its annual Krystal Square Off, a high-profile eating contest to take place this fall in Chattanooga. —

Two years ago, Krystal tried to include videos of the championship as well as qualifying contests leading up to the Square Off, but got mixed results. Judging by how well the Giveaway Show went, Wahl said, Krystal should be able to promote the Square Off successfully with another live broadcast and real-time social-media integration. —

“The technology was still a little bit behind in that we did have a lot of technical issues,” Wahl said. “Part of that was finding a good line to stream video across, but the technology is so much better these days that we’re looking forward to it.” —

After going into the Giveaway Show with few expectations, Wahl said he learned a lot from the broadcast and how it engages Krystal enthusiasts. —

“Customer retention and loyalty is a big deal,” Wahl said, “and anything we can do to develop our database of Krystal lovers will go a long way.”— [email protected] [4]